Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Ember Wednesday; Our Lady of Ransom

I've been back at the day Hours of the Roman Breviary for a while now, altho' (to save time) I'm still reading the Office of Readings from the modern Office (Matins being too long for me at present), and it has been good to-day to have the Preces at Lauds and Vespers; good too to recite Lauds II, with the Canticle of Anna.  Of course, as a private addition I still say the once-prescribed Paters and Aves, etc., before and after each Hour, and have been using the Preces (including those formerly for Prime, the Little Hours, and Compline) as another addition, but to-day they were there as an integral part of the cursus and pensum.

To-day is also the commemoration of Our Lady of Ransom, originally to venerate her as the authoress of the Mercedarians, those daring and chivalrous religious who (together with their holy and zealous competitors, the Trinitarians) yearly ransomed Christian men from the Mussulman; but for England she has a special place as her to whom the Catholics of that realm pray for the return of their home to be once more her Dowry.  There in England still exists The Guild of Our Lady of Ransom, and this is their prayer (composed by Cardinal Wiseman):

Prayer for England

O Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God and our most gentle Queen and Mother, look down in mercy upon England, thy dowry, and upon us who greatly hope and trust in thee.

By thee it was that Jesus, our Saviour and our hope was given unto the world; and He has given thee to us that we might hope still more.

Plead for us thy children, whom thou didst receive and accept at the foot of the cross, O Sorrowful Mother.  Intercede for our separated brethren, that with us in the one true fold, they may be united to the Chief Shepherd, the Vicar of thy Son.

Pray for us all, dear Mother, that by faith, fruitful in good works we may all deserve to see and praise God, together with thee in our heavenly home.


It was good to-day also to make my confession; and while waiting in line for some time, somewhat perturbed, I was able to "redeem the time" and pray the Litanies of the Saints, of the Holy Name, of the Sacred Heart, and of the Precious Blood; and afterward, seven Ave's for a penance, and a grateful Te Deum.

How fitting, on this Ember Day, to pray this Collect, asking for the mediation of the Most Blessed Virgin that we be freed from the only true slavery, the degradation of sin, which is enchainment to the devil:

Deus, qui per gloriosíssimam Fílii tui Matrem, ad liberándos Christi fidéles a potestate paganórum nova Ecclésiam tuam prole amplificáre dignátus es: præsta, quæsumus; ut, quam pie venerámur tanti operis institutricem, ejus páriter meritis et intercessióne, a peccátis ómnibus et captivitáte dæmonis líberemur. Per eúmdem...

O God, who through the most glorious Mother of thy Son didst vouchsafe to increase thy Church with a new offspring for the redemption of thy Christian people from the power of the heathen: grant, we beseech thee, that like as we on this day do honour her for the work of her institution, so by her merits and intercession, we may be delivered from all our iniquities and the bondage of the devil. Through the same...

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